Bill amending RTI Act doesn’t compromise information panel’s autonomy: Javadekar

Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday the bill amending the RTI Act in no way compromises the Information Commissions autonomy and asserted that the NDA government is fully committed to maintaining transparency and free flow of communication. The Lok Sabha passed the bill on Monday amid objections by the Opposition which alleged that it was an attempt to undermine the law and make the transparency panel a toothless tiger. The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, seeks to give the government powers to fix salaries, tenures and other terms and conditions of employment of information commissioners. Dubbing the criticism to the amendment of the RTI Act a deliberate and mischievous attempt by a section to malign the government, Javadekar, in a series of tweets, said that there is no merit in their criticism as the amendment to RTI Act in no way compromises the autonomy of the Information Commission. The Union Information and Broadcasting minister asserted that the Narendra Modi-led government is fully committed to maintaining transparency and accountability in the flow of information relating various government departments. In a bid to strengthen genuine and free flow of information, the government has encouraged suo motu dissemination of maximum information by government departments in order to the reduce number of RTIs, he said. Several members of opposition including from the BSP and the TMC opposed consideration and passage of the Bill and called for a division of votes. But they were defeated by 218-79 votes.